Mark Tami: That is a crucial point, because not only the employee but the employer must be aware of the procedures. The grievance procedure allows an employee to raise an issue and have it dealt with. The vast majority of cases do not result in a tribunal or in the employee leaving the company, but are resolved through the grievance procedure.
Mark Tami: That is a key point. The grievance procedure in many ways acts as a cooling off period. It stops people almost straight away bypassing everything else and going straight to lawyers. I know from my casework that once lawyers are involved, reasonable cases that could be resolved by other means often get very nasty and expensive. All employers, regardless of whether they are big or small, have...
Mark Tami: Much has been said about how different provision in Scotland is. In fact, the Scottish system provides aid where the case is evidently complex. I regard that as very similar to the system of exceptional funding. Although there is a difference, it is not as great as it has been made out to be.
Mark Tami: The Scottish system takes into consideration language issues and physical or mental illness or disability. I am not sure whether the exceptional funding covers that. If not, I hope the Minister will deal with it, as it is a valid point.
Mark Tami: As the hon. Gentleman pointed out, it is important that people have access to trade union membership and I certainly want them to join, as there are many benefits. People often appear in droves wanting to join a union after something happens—for example, if an employee has been sacked, has problems at work, has assaulted a colleague at work or something similar. I notice that the hon....
Mark Tami: I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has made that point, because there was a great deal of concern when Mr. Isherwood, the Assembly Member for North Wales, questioned the legality of repayable launch investment, in a clear attempt to undermine the project.
Mark Tami: Does the hon. Gentleman accept, though, that Valley would serve north-west Wales? North-east Wales is served by Manchester and Liverpool, so its needs are adequately served from the English side of the border, whereas there is no service available in north-west Wales.
Mark Tami: What about caravans?
Mark Tami: I am somewhat confused about the hon. Gentleman's view of speed cameras. I saw a grimace on the faces of his colleagues when he mentioned them. Is he in favour of them or against them?
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate of the (a) sparrow and (b) buzzard population has been in each of the last five years.
Mark Tami: The hon. Lady is making a good case for spending more, but I thought that she wanted to tax less. How does she square that position?
Mark Tami: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Mark Tami: All hon. Members felt for the difficulties that the hon. Gentleman suffered as a result of the tragic death of the Liberal Democrat candidate in his constituency, and we all knew that we could be put in the same position. He is right to say that we must deal with the problem, which could have dramatic consequences, especially in the circumstances of a hung Parliament or a very close result.
Mark Tami: Does my hon. Friend agree that it is the role of the state to get people on to the register and that we should do as much as we can to achieve that? It is not for individual authorities or whatever to get people on to the register; it is the role of the Government and the state to encourage people to take part in the democratic process.
Mark Tami: There are contrasting approaches to registration. In north Wales, I receive one letter a year about registration, whereas in London I receive three, as well as someone coming to my door. We need a more uniform approach to encourage people to register, and many local authorities could do much more.
Mark Tami: I welcome the statement about DARA at Sealand, although I regret the job losses elsewhere. May we have a period of stability now? That is vital, because having one review after another saps the morale of employees. What plans does my right hon. Friend have to secure the long-term future of DARA at Sealand?
Mark Tami: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
Mark Tami: Like the right hon. Gentleman, I hope that we can reach an agreement in this House that will last for many years. Although his new-found allies may speak well in this House, however, at a local level they seem to oppose every new form of energy generation, whether it is renewables or other technologies.
Mark Tami: What discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on help for pensioners in Wales.
Mark Tami: I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer and I also welcome the many measures that the Government have delivered for pensioners in Wales. However, does my right hon. Friend accept that the take-up of council tax benefit by pensioners remains low? What more can we do to highlight the existence of that benefit to those who need it most?